Indian board allows fans to attend Kohli's 100th Test

Historic match against Sri Lanka was earlier set to be played behind closed doors

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The Indian cricket board on Tuesday cleared the decks for fans to attend star batsman Virat Kohli's 100th Test - against Sri Lanka starting on Friday in Mohali.

Earlier, the local association had said crowds will not be permitted for the first Test due to coronavirus cases in the north Indian city.

However, BCCI secretary Jay Shah on Tuesday said in a statement that supporters will be able to witness the historic Test.

"The first Test between India and Sri Lanka to be played at the Punjab Cricket Stadium in Mohali will not be held behind closed doors," Shah said in a statement.

"I have spoken with the PCA [Punjab Cricket Association] office bearers and they have confirmed that fans will be able to witness the historic moment of Virat Kohli playing his 100th Test match.

"I am really looking forward to Kohli’s 100th Test and wish our champion cricketer the very best. This is an occasion for our fans to savour. May he continue to represent the country in many more matches to come,” Shah added.

The board has approved 50 per cent crowd attendance for the match.

It will be a special occasion when Kohli returns to the India team after taking a break during the Sri Lanka T20 series.

Kohli has not been in the best of form in recent seasons and lost the captaincy in all formats. He is now focusing on regaining his touch with the bat and also scoring that elusive 71st century. The 33-year-old last scored an international ton in November 2019.

Kohli has scored 7,962 runs in 99 Tests since his debut in 2011 and will become the 12th Indian to appear in 100 or more red-ball matches. Batting great Sachin Tendulkar played a world record 200 Tests before retiring in 2013.

The second Test - which will be a day-night contest in Bengaluru - will also have limited spectators.

Crowds have slowly been allowed back at venues in India over the last two months. The three-match ODI series against West Indies in February was played behind closed doors in Ahmedabad. However, the T20 leg of the Windies series in Kolkata was played in front of fans.

Also, the two T20 games against Sri Lanka in the recently concluded limited overs series in Dharamsala had spectators in the stands.

Updated: March 01, 2022, 4:29 PM